DOJ Catch Of The Week -- Menlo Worldwide Services
By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team
This week’s Department of Justice “Catch of the Week” goes to Menlo Worldwide Services and Estes Forwarding Worldwide. On Tuesday, the freight forwarding companies agreed to collectively pay $13 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by overcharging the government in various ways under the Defense Transportation Coordination Initiative contract. Specifically, the government claimed it was overcharged by being billed the cost of moving freight by air when it was actually shipped by ground. Under the settlement, Menlo Worldwide will pay $10 million, and Estes Forwarding will pay $3 million on behalf of itself and its parent Estes Express Lines. See DOJ Press Release.
In announcing the settlement, Acting United States Attorney Phillip A. Talbert said the settlement “demonstrates our commitment to protecting the integrity of federal contracts and ensuring the government only pays for the actual services rendered as required under the contract.” The allegations originated in a whistleblower lawsuit filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. The whistleblowers will receive a whistleblower award of $2.86 million from the proceeds of the government’s recovery. The government noted the settling companies did not admit to any wrongdoing and fully cooperated with the government’s investigation of the matter.